Google has forged strategic alliances with a number of automobile manufacturers, with a view to getting its operating system adopted as the number one interoperability platform, incorporating into vehicles the various applications that are already available on mobile devices.

Android sets out to conquer the connected car market


On the sidelines of the CES event, a gathering of the great and the good in the new technology world that is held every year in Las Vegas, Google has just announced the creation of an alliance bringing together a number of leading players from the IT and automobile industries. Echoing the iOS in the Car (iOSitC) project unveiled by Apple a few months ago, this initiative epitomises the fierce competition between these two Silicon Valley giants to take advantage of the enormous opportunities afforded by the emerging connected car industry. In securing the backing of a strong strategic alliance for the use of its Android system, Google is clearly looking to establish itself as the leading player in a connected vehicle ecosystem which comprises a range of varied expertise.

A variety of different players

Building on the success of the Open Handset Alliance, which in 2007 enabled Android to establish itself as one of a handful of operating systems for smartphone manufacturers, Google is preparing the groundwork for its entry into the connected car market by bringing together a number of key players around a common platform. Dubbed the Open Automotive Alliance, so far the grouping comprises a number of automobile manufacturers including Audi, GM, Honda, and Hyundai, plus also chip-maker Nvidia. These companies are grouping around Google with a view to bringing new vehicles on to the common Android platform going forward.

Towards seamless interoperability

The stated aim of this alliance is to make the mobile user experience more rewarding by enabling drivers to use their mobile apps in their connected cars without having to carry out any prior transfers. The idea is that the various web-surfing services, plus music and other applications already available in mobile version on Android will be directly accessible on the car dashboard, creating a seamless user experience. As Gartner analyst ThiloKoslowski puts it: “The car is set to become the ultimate mobile device.” Automobile manufacturers are increasingly integrating connectivity into their latest models. Audi for example has announced plans to integrate fourth generation chips so as to connect the car to the Web without having to go through a smartphone. In the same vein, GM is planning to build constant seamless Internet access into all its cars by 2015.

By Thomas Meyer
Journalist, Business Analyst